Yesterday morning I was picking some lavender flowers in the garden behind the shop when I suddenly stood before a question. I was all by myself but the intensity of the question was so real, there might as well have been someone standing right next to me demanding the answer. It was intense.
Here’s the question: If you lost everything you have, all your possessions, everything, and you were homeless, would you still be a nice person? Would you still be friendly? Would you still praise God?
It made me think. It made me think very hard and take stock of what is important to me.
How would you answer that question? Think of everything you have, of everything that is important to you. It’s very easy to say that things are only earthly things, but at the end of the day, some of our earthly possessions do become very important to us.
What about your house? If you’ve been living there for a long time and it’s your safe place, your haven, what if it was destroyed? What if your insurance doesn’t pay for the damage? And everything inside our homes, our furniture, appliances, books and clothes? The photo albums and the Wedgewood teaset that belonged to granny? There are things that can never be replaced. There are handmade items, sentimental stuff. Can we put a value on those things? Your wedding ring of jewelry, things that you inherited. Original paintings, artwork and heirlooms. What about your car? How would you get from point A to B? How would you get to work? What if you didn’t have a job anymore? I’m not even going to go to cell phones, computers and technology.
I know this is a really depressing subject, but the question that was posed was so real that I couldn’t help thinking about it all day.
Would I be able to keep smiling and be friendly to people? Would I be able to encourage people if I was homeless? Is my personality and my character based on what I have? Does my identity hinge on possessions or does it depend on my salvation? Will I have integrity if all I possess are the clothes that are on my back? Will I be able to stand up and look the world in the eye if I had nothing? Do I wear a mask and project the image I want the world to see or am I what I truly am? Do you get what you see? What do people think of me? Are they my friends because of who I am or because of what they think I am?
I often see people projecting the image of a perfect life on social media. I look at all the smiles and the photos and I think some people who them think that these people really live this awesome, trouble free life and they aspire to get there. It is obviously an impossible quest because the image that is reflected is not a true reflection but purposely and carefully cultivated. People make money and get sponsorships if they are media influencers.
James 1:23 – 25 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.
We have to have a clear vision of who we really are. We can’t pretend to the world or to ourselves. We can’t wear a mask, or even multiple masks to suit the occasion. I we behave in a certain way with friends and in a different way with our families and in still a different way at work we must realize that there is a problem. I don’t mean that we shouldn’t be professional at work if we are casual at home, but our personalities should not change.
1 Peter 3: 3 – 4 Do not let your adornment be merely outward—arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel— rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God.
2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.
We have to carefully take stock of ourselves and what is really important to us. Do we have the inner resources to be able to stand up and be counted no matter our circumstances. Can we truthfully say that we don’t rely on what we have to be what we are. Are we rooted deeply enough in Christ that we can say with David (Psalm 125:1-2) Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion, which cannot be moved, but abides forever. As the mountains surround Jerusalem, SO the Lord surrounds His people from this time forth and forever.